Frugal backpackers and glitzy high rollers alike flock to Europe during the summer season. Warm weather, long days, and hip nightlife attract tourists like moths to a flame. In the winter, the excitement dies down as Europe prepares for its off season, and with it go many of the tourists. However, traveling in winter holds many attractions for the savvy traveler.
The off-peak winter season means one thing to budget travelers worldwide: discounts. Hotels often offer cheaper rates during the off season. Airfares are also much cheaper due to lower demand. Tickets for winter travel can be bought at up to half price compared to a ticket in the summer, and if you book early enough on the low cost airlines, you may even find yourself only having to pay for the taxes and fees.
Unless you’re heading for the ski slopes, expect to find fewer tourists. The cold weather and shorter daylight hours are major deterrents for the less hardy, so you will find smaller crowds and shorter lines at the major tourist attractions. You will have the freedom of strolling down Barcelona’s La Rambla or Paris’s Champs Elysees without having to put up with a jostling crowd. A visit to the Vatican Museum means a half hour line instead of a line around the block. Traveling during the winter off-peak season also means that most hotels and hostels will have some rooms available, allowing you the freedom to move around Europe according to your whim and fancy, without the need to pre-book accommodation very far in advance.
More Cosy Time
Winter is a great time to be traveling with your other half. The cold will provide a perfect excuse to cuddle up to each other at night. You will have an option to enjoy whatever nightlife your city has to offer, or simply stay in your hotel room and enjoy each others’ company. The long nights will also give you many an opportunity to snuggle together in front of a romantic, crackling fireplace.
Europe’s cultural events, from operas to orchestras, are in full swing during the winter season. Grab the chance to enjoy a Vivaldi concerto in his home city or treat yourself to a performance by the Vienna Boy’s Choir.
Europe’s food changes dramatically in the winter. Forget freshly tossed salads and light, refreshing main courses. From hearty stews and thick cream sauces, to preserved meats and roast wild game, expect warm, filling portions to fortify the winter traveler.